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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Skiers slide into the New Year

Norway’s top cross-country skiers, both men and women, had a good start to the New Year. Ski queen Marit Bjørgen, her male counterpart Petter Northug and their teammates left their rivals in the dust during the latest events on the Tour de Ski.

Marit Bjørgen (left) and Therese Johaug, shown here after winning another event at the World Championships last winter, are still in winning form. PHOTO: Stian Broch/Ski VM

They’ve seemed to pick up where they left off at the World Championships in Oslo last winter. Both Bjørgen and Northug ended up skiing away from all their rivals at the crucial moment in Oberstdorf in Germany on Sunday, and could claim victories on New Year’s Day.

Bjørgen was quick to kiss her skis, after all the hard work was done. She declared that they were perfect, and the glide they gave was decisive in yet another duel with Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland. The one with the fastest skis won.

The competition was tough, though, and Kowalczyk boosted her standing on Sunday, too, winning important bonus seconds. The young woman from Poland remained in the overall lead by 26 seconds and now it seems like victory in the Tour de Ski is up for grabs between Bjørgen, Kowalczyk and Norway’s Therese Johaug, currently in third place.

Both Bjørgen and Petter Northug claimed to be somewhat off on Sunday, with Northug saying he relied on teammates to help him in the 20-kilometer race with change of skis. He won in the final sprint, saying he’ll share his winnings with teammates like Niklas Dyrhaug and Kristian Tettli Rennemo.

Northug currently leads the Tour de Ski, ahead of Dario Cologna of Switzerland in second place and Alexander Legkov, also of Switzerland.

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